The new Daimler Testing and Technology Center in Immendingen – roughly 130 kilometers south of Stuttgart (Germany) – is increasingly taking shape. This is where technology is being put in place for the future areas of connected, autonomous, shared and electric drive. And very soon, a total of roughly 300 employees will be testing, inspecting and developing vehicles at the new location in close collaboration with other R&D units. Immendingen is thus an important location for future mobility.
Step by step launch
Much has happened at the 520-hectare site since construction began in 2015. The testing modules will be launched in phases. The rough-road test track has been in use since 2015, for instance, and is used to test vehicle performance under particularly rough road conditions. In addition to the urban district and the 4x4 module, the Bertha area (area for testing highly automated drive functions) will also be launched this year.
The urban district will include 1.5 kilometers of city streets with various intersection scenarios in order to test driver assistance systems, Car-to-X communication and autonomous driving under real conditions. The site as a whole thus helps bring autonomous vehicle testing out of public road traffic and to the Test Center.
We are shaping future mobility at Immendingen. Construction is progressing every day, and we are making good headway.
Immendingen – a "major project" in the works
About three-quarters of the soil has already been moved. Roughly 120 large-scale machines are in use at the construction site. One highlight of the construction site is the creation of banked curves using a special bridge paver. There are only two of these large-scale machines in use on earth. The two banked curves on the oval circuit create a continuous straightaway, making it possible for German highways to be simulated in the future.
The asphalt work at the nearly 10-hectare Bertha area is also well underway. It will launch in the northwest section of the test site in late 2017. It will then be possible to thoroughly test assistance systems and autonomous drive functions in an area measuring roughly 950 meters long by 650 meters wide. Among other things, the Bertha area allows for testing of safety-relevant scenarios at highway speeds as well as testing merging and lane-change scenarios and checking collision avoidance functions in parallel traffic and cross traffic.
One development for conducting these tests is crashable vehicles, which allow such maneuvers to be carried out without risking safety. These vehicles are unique since they can be crashed and are robust with near real-time visibility for all sensor types. To create them, a fake soft vehicle is secured to a flat, self-driving "target base" that can be run over. In crash scenarios, the test vehicle can run over the target base and knock away its body. The site is designed to allow tests to be performed using self-driving vehicles. Vehicles are operated with high precision from a control station. This allows complex traffic scenarios involving multiple vehicles to be illustrated repeatedly and enables tests with atypical impacts (e.g. running over obstacles).